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Rules of Diplomacy

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By Vera d'Auriac

 

“The first rule of diplomacy, my friend—never show anger.” Louis’s words echoed in William’s head. And then William remembered laying eyes on Louis for the first time, earlier that day. Louis had been raging. He had not immediately known William was standing there, watching, struck by his delicate yet regal frame, covered in mud. But even once Louis had spotted him, his anger had not abated, merely directed itself at William. Yes, he had recovered himself, sat down with William to negotiate in perfect equanimity, but he had been the first to show anger. William, according to Louis, had a reputation for reserve, and it irked William that Louis felt he had a right to chastise him now. But so long as he had lost control of his temper, William saw no reason to immediately retreat into himself.

He whipped back around, tossed his sword into the corner, and backed Louis against the table. Once William stood flush with Louis, whose back arched as William towered above, William finally stopped his forward momentum. But he only hesitated for a second, studying Louis’s eyes, expressive now in stark contrast to his blank, mysterious stares from earlier. William kissed Louis.

He had wanted to do so ever since Louis had stomped through the gates. No, longer than that. Before William had ever seen Louis Bourbon, he had wanted to kiss him, fuck him. Earlier, William had said that since he was a boy he had wanted to meet Louis, fight him, defeat him. And all of that was true. He’d just left off some additional wishes, such as this one.

Under him, Louis’s body went rigid, the hard, lithe limbs preparing for battle. And the stomach tensed, as did his chest. William wanted his hands on the flesh of Louis’s back to feel how the muscles moved under what he imagined must be soft, smooth skin. But he did nothing yet, other than kiss Louis, the man he had wanted before he saw him and wanted more than ever now that he could actually touch him.

And finally Louis threaded his fingers into William’s hair and pressed their mouths harder together. With this license, William put one hand at the small of Louis’s back and the other on the side of his ribs and pulled him close with a fierceness that hurt them both, but William felt powerless to stop. All the while, the kiss continued, William thrilled that Louis seemed as eager to explore his mouth as he was to search out every corner of Louis’s.

When their bodies shifted against each other and William felt Louis’s hard cock press on his own, he picked Louis up. Without ceremony, he dropped Louis on the table and forced his way between his legs. Pulling Louis’s hips to the edge of the table, William rubbed them together. He could barely breathe, did not want to, only desired this kiss, this friction, to go on indefinitely. That is, until he thought about Louis’s throat. Was it white and smooth under all of that ribbon and lace? He would gladly rip it all away with his own teeth if necessary to find out.

“I have lost my customary reserve,” William whispered against Louis’s neck as he tried to remove everything that was in his way. “You acted as though you wished to teach me lessons in diplomacy. Would you like to help me find it again?” At last, William had the lace off. Louis’s neck was damp with sweat and water from the dam William had loosed on him. He greedily sucked on that gorgeous throat.

Louis’s grip in his hair intensified, and William had his body pressed so tightly to Louis’s, he could feel him panting. “Yes. I believe we must both find that. Immediately.” Louis tried to pull away, but William only pressed their cocks harder together in response. Louis moaned, his head tilted back, exposing more throat. “William, we must. One of the sisters could return at any moment. We cannot be found thus.”

William pushed Louis flat against the table, then scurried on top of him before Louis could protest. Straddling him, William found Louis’s hands and pinned them to the table above his head. “Then let’s find a door with a fucking lock.”

“A not unpleasant thought. But we are meant to be negotiating.”

“What? You think I will have an unfair advantage in my bid to win you over to an alliance if I have your cock in my mouth?”

Louis finally tried to fight back at that, bucking under William, but all that achieved was making their cocks drag along each other. Acceding to William’s physical superiority at the given moment, Louis went limp. But then he smirked, and William felt his advantage seeping away. “I would love nothing more than to shut you up, and do all of the talking myself. I take back what I said. Please, suck my cock right here and now, and in three minutes, I will have convinced you to give me everything I want.”

William’s grip on Louis’s wrists loosened. “And what do you want?”

“Maastricht.”

With a sigh, William rolled off Louis and laid on the table beside him. “Impossible.”

And now Louis pounced on top of William, forcing their mouths together. William let his hands wander into Louis’s long curls, enjoying the weight on him. After fucking his mouth for half a minute, Louis broke the kiss and whispered, “Maastricht.”

“I can’t.” William forced Louis’s lips back to his, this time insisting on being the one to fuck Louis’s mouth. Once he thought Louis would not try to pull away from his mouth again, William slid his hands from Louis’s hair and down his back. He grabbed Louis’s ass with both hands and lifted his own hips to press their cocks together once more. Louis rocked into the movement even without William’s guidance, so William let his hands explore Louis’s back and neck as they built up a slow rhythm.

“I want…,” Louis panted into William’s mouth.

William growled and pushed Louis off him. His momentum carried him over the edge of the table, but William didn’t even care. “Let me guess,” he said, hopping down and straightening his jacket. “Maastricht.”

***

Louis followed the sister upstairs to his room so that he might freshen himself up for dinner. For dinner, as was proper. Not for William.

Blast that infuriating man! Why had William kissed him? Why had Louis kissed him back? But Louis knew asking questions served no purpose; what was done was done. What he needed to decide was what to do next.

He could give in to their shared desire. God knew that he wanted that more than he even wanted Maastricht, although perhaps less than Amsterdam. Louis chuckled at the thought, slightly surprised to find himself attracted to another man this strongly. Of course, it was the sort of thing that crossed everyone’s mind, and he supposed he had given the Italian Vice more thought than most men thanks to Philippe. But he had never ached for a man like he ached for William.

Then again, he had never met a man with William’s power, a power and presence to rival his own. Louis longed to fuck someone with that kind of power, for the sake of having a true equal, as well as for the sake of sharing intimacy with someone who understood. Because ruling isolated a man, and the greater his dominions and the stronger his power, the more profound his solitude. William was literally the only person in Europe who could possibly understand what it meant to be Louis XIV. To be intimate with someone who understood…Louis trembled at the very thought. Man or woman, it did not matter. Louis yearned to make love with anyone who could see the world as he saw it.

But first, dinner. Followed by more negotiations. And after that…Louis sat at the foot of his bed knowing what a terrible idea it would be for anything further to happen between him and William. He must drive from his mind the taste of William, the feeling of his mouth on his neck, their two pricks rubbing together.

He must concentrate on something else. This nun, for instance. Who was she, and why did she seem familiar? He would answer these questions, and leave thoughts of William far away.

***

Louis had caught him wrong footed again. No one had put William off his stride since he was a little boy, and not often then. Yet here was Louis, doing it with regularity. At least he had solved the riddle. Too bad he had no answer for an offer of 16 million guilders. Louis was right—he wasn’t much of a man right now. Instead, he’d become an indecisive boy who couldn’t stop looking at Louis’s mouth.

When they returned to the room to finish their meal, William could not bear the thought of eyes watching them. “Leave us, sister,” he said to the nun Louis had somehow managed to upset while changing clothes. “We can see to ourselves for the rest of the night.”

“Are you sure?” She looked helplessly at Louis. “Your majesty?”

So even though Louis had caused the woman some kind of distress, when given the excuse to leave his presence, she still asked for his permission. What kind of hold did Louis have over the woman? And not just her, but nearly everyone he met. People he hadn’t met. William wanted that power, to know what it felt like to be Louis XIV.

“Leave us,” Louis said. “We can tend ourselves quite well from here. If we require anything, I will call.”

She nodded and left, and once more they were entirely alone. The thought made William’s cock begin to stiffen. Louis made as if to return to his seat at the table, but William grabbed him and pushed him face first against the wall. His cock, getting harder by the second, William lined up with Louis’s ass.

“You surprised me just now with your offer. Sixteen million is a great deal of money. Perhaps you would be so kind as to list what exactly I might expect for that amount.”

Louis chuckled breathlessly, pushing back against William’s cock. “You would get the alliance you asked for. You do want it, don’t you? Your offer wasn’t simply a distraction from the fact you’re losing this war, was it?”

William bit Louis’s earlobe. “I stopped you rather decisively today. You’re in my territory now, and there is nothing you’ve won that you will be able to keep unless I allow it.”

“Forty towns, William. I’ll be able to keep at least half without breaking a sweat.”

William rolled his hips against Louis’s ass, and they both moaned. “I wonder what it takes for you to break a sweat? I really want to know.”

“Well, for 16 million guilders, you would get that. Would you like a preview?” With that, Louis grabbed William’s hand and pushed it down his breeches, his underclothes, wrapped William’s hand around his hard, dripping cock. William’s breath hitched as he sagged against Louis’s back. Louis laughed at him. “I’m starting to think I should have asked for 20 million.”

William could see that once again he had possessed the upper hand, only to lose it. But he would at least take advantage of the situation as best he might. He tightened his grip around Louis and slowly started to pull. “Yes, but you didn’t. You’re mine now, and I believe you said this is just a preview—I am under no obligation to buy.”

“We’re still in a room with a door we cannot lock,” Louis said.

But William gradually increased his pace on Louis’s cock and matched it with the grinding of his own hips. “If you do not approve, stop me.”

Louis tried to wriggle free, but William had size and position on him. “I’m hungry,” Louis said when he stopped struggling. “This little game has all been quite fun, but we should eat.”

“This isn’t a game, and you should know it,” William said, pushing Louis harder into the wall. “This is about power. Brains and money, tactics and diplomacy all have their place, but you know as well as I, sometimes power is about brute force.”

“I will remember that when next we meet. I will bring a rope to help offset your physical advantage.”

The idea of Louis tying him up had an unexpected effect on William. It distracted him so entirely, in fact, that Louis was able to pull William’s hand out of his breeches and spin around. Although, before he could slip away, William blocked him in with his hands pressed firmly against the wall on either side of Louis. “So you think we will make a habit of meeting like this?”

Louis smirked and pushed those soft, twisted lips to William’s mouth, barely brushing them enough to qualify as a kiss. “Undoubtedly. Assuming no one walks through that unlocked door and finds us in this particular position. We must be discreet. Surely, you understand. And want the same.”

“I want to fight you, fuck you, and play mind games with you for the next fifty years. I want us to be each other’s true partner. Not wives or mistresses. But someone…,” William panted, running out of breath and words. “Someone….”

“Who understands.” Louis grabbed the back of his head and this time crushed their mouths together. “Yes. I want that, too. So let’s eat and negotiate so we can find somewhere more appropriate.”

William nodded, but forced their mouths and bodies together once more in a violent fury that would have to last him for hours to come.

***

It took most of the meal for Louis’s erection to fade. Every time it began to dissipate, he would find William’s eyes on him or remember the pressure of William’s hand around his prick, and it would all rush back. But he managed to eat something before stumbling over to the fire, his exhaustion finally starting to claim its rights over his body.

William, of course, looked fresh and alert. Louis had been the one who had dragged himself away for some ablutions and a change of clothes, and yet it was William who did not appear to have done anything in the least strenuous today, even though he had been at that battle, the same as Louis. The only concession he even took to comfort was to remove his jacket. Of course, the way his green doublet fitted his chest and the crisp white of his shirt made Louis’s prick begin to grow again. And he did not want this now. He wanted to focus and conclude negotiations. After which, he would either happily sleep or fuck William senseless—he no longer cared which, he felt so weary.

But William insisted on not negotiating directly, a tactic under normal circumstances Louis could admire. Tonight, though, Louis did not want gifts and cleverly worded stories. He wanted William to give him the towns he could not leave here without, and have that be an end to it. Instead, Louis received a frightening mask from the other side of the world and an even more terrifying story when William insisted on pushing about Madame de Montespan. Louis felt his exhaustion force anger through his better sense. Without intending to do as much, Louis jumped to his feet to meet William’s gaze. But William would not look in his eyes. No, William focused on Louis’s mouth, as he asked, “Do you not fear being under the control of a woman?”

Louis hurled the mask, that symbol of feminine cunning and death, into the fire. William tried to press him further, but Louis could hardly stand. His body ached for rest, and his mind yearned for a release from games of state and seduction. Without looking at William again, he made his excuses and left, hoping to find a much required night of sleep and respite from the troubles of kingship.

***

William had pushed too hard. From everything he had heard, Madame de Montespan was Louis’s weak spot, and he had saved her and the Javanese mask for when Louis reached his most exhausted and vulnerable. It was a feat of psychological negotiation he thought Louis would appreciate. If not immediately, then upon reflection. But William had overshot the mark, and Louis shut down and left.

As far as the war, William had no conception of where they might now stand. As potential lovers, he refused to just let Louis go.

Something had happened between them that was physical, political, and spiritual that William could not explain. And yet, he understood something, even if he could not put it into words. He only knew he must act. Get them alone behind that locked door.

He found what he believed were the narrow stairs leading to Louis’s room. If they were not, he would check every corner of the convent for Louis. His whole body tingled at the thought of Louis naked before him. And the ability to be naked in return. He must find him.

At the top of the stairs, a solitary door stood closed. William held his breath and knocked. He heard muffled words exchanged between what he thought sounded like a man and a woman. Not until the door opened, revealing the nun assigned to tend Louis and the man himself behind her, did William exhale.

“I am afraid I have one or two more things I must discuss with you before we can sleep.” William spoke over the sister’s shoulder, directly to Louis, who looked back with weary eyes through his limp hair. “Alone, of course.”

“Leave us, sister,” Louis answered, his gaze steady on William.

“Of course, your majesty,” she said to the floor before squeezing past William and down the stairs.

William stepped into the room, closed the door, and turned the lock. He trembled for a heartbeat, but when Louis took a step toward him, William flew from the door. Louis collapsed in his arms, and William gladly held him up, pressed their mouths together with a hand to the back of Louis’s head.

As much as William wanted to rip Louis’s clothes off, to once more hold his cock, to do he knew not what, he made no move to change exactly what they were doing. With nothing to rush them, behind this locked door, William just enjoyed this kiss. He and Louis already shared so much, had been joined spirits before they had even met that morning on the field of battle. They belonged here alone with the only person who could understand the trials and responsibilities and loneliness of their lives.

“The door is locked,” William panted into Louis’s mouth while pulling loose the lace at his throat.

“I have no fight to give you.” Louis ran his hands over William’s chest, picking at the gold buttons of his doublet. “When next we meet, I want to fight and challenge each other in every way. But tonight, I am at an end of myself. Do you understand?” Louis looked up at William, his eyes impossibly big and blue, and overflowing with physical and mental exhaustion. William knew only too well.

“Yes, I do.” William softly pressed his lips to Louis’s. “No struggles tonight.” He pulled the lace free and set to work on Louis’s buttons and laces. “Let’s just get you undressed.”

“What about you?” Louis asked, his hands roaming. “Should we not undress you, as well?”

William pulled Louis’s body flush with his own. They were both grown aroused, and he wanted to lie naked with the King of France as much as he had ever wanted anything. “Oh, I think so. Can you help?”

With deft fingers that belied his tiredness, Louis attacked William’s clothes. Soon they were both feeling revitalized and ripping at fastenings and shoving breeches to the floor and yanking shirts over heads. Louis had an advantage in that he had switched to shoes he easily kicked off. William, however, still wore his boots. Showing surprising energy, Louis, now naked but for the shirt billowing loose around him, whirled William around onto the bed. Louis knelt on the floor and kissed William’s bare chest, rubbed a thumb over his nipple. William’s stomach fluttered, and he slumped back helpless as Louis kissed his thigh through his breeches just above the boot’s top. Then Louis shifted back and yanked, and with a little help from William, he had the first boot off, and in another moment, the second.

Stockings quickly followed, and William didn’t even wait for Louis before wriggling out of his breeches and underclothes on his own. He was now naked, sitting at the foot of Louis XIV’s bed in a convent on the front lines of the war. And his cock absolutely ached.

William pulled Louis to him and whipped off his shirt. Now they were both naked, and with a determined grip, William crushed Louis to him as he lay back on the bed. Their mouths met, their skin sweat into the other, they exchanged breath. Twisting, William dropped Louis on the bed beside him. After a wet, ferocious kiss, William broke away and swung his body around so that his head laid near the foot of the bed.

Louis made a soft, displeased moan, but said nothing, and stroked William’s calf. William curled himself so that he might kiss Louis’s thigh, lick his hip. Louis moaned a bit more contentedly now. And he gasped quite gratifyingly when William swallowed his cock.

Louis seemed happy to lie there, his cares forgotten while William sucked. And truth be told, William loved the feel of him, the weight of his cock on his tongue, the salt of pre-cum on the back of his throat. William was almost content to leave the situation as it was, but tonight should be about both of them as equals. If they would save the struggles for later days—struggles William looked forward to both winning and losing—tonight should emphasize what brought them together. Mutual understanding meant mutual pleasure.

William pulled on Louis’s hip until he rolled over on his side facing William. Since William was already on his side facing Louis, he had nothing left to do but run his hand up Louis’s smooth side, over his shoulder, and find his face. He pushed Louis’s head and angled his own hips until Louis took his meaning. When Louis finally swallowed William’s cock in his mouth, William grunted around Louis’s.

The pleasure he felt disturbed William’s concentration on what he was doing to Louis. But he forced himself to focus on Louis again, dug his fingers into Louis’s behind and pushed the delicious cock deeper into his mouth. This threw Louis off his own task, until he clearly dedicated himself to focusing on William, sucking so hard and rhythmically William wanted to scream. Back and forth, they fought to give pleasure, licking and sucking, clutching each other so tightly William thought they must be leaving bruises.

Louis shuddered and lost all pretense at rhythm first, merely able to lazily stroke William’s cock with his tongue. William took his as fully as he could, hugging Louis’s thighs, pulling his hips as close as possible. Soon Louis could not even lick, only pant, and a moment later, he spent down William’s throat. William swallowed as fast as he could, not wanting to lose a drop of what Louis gave him now.

When Louis finished, they both paused to tremble and breathe. Louis took so long recovering, in fact, William began to wonder if he might be so exhausted and spent he could not finish. But just as William despaired, Louis started gently sucking, slowly licking. Once more tightening the grasp that had loosened, he took hold of William’s hip, the pressure growing so gradually he could not even say when he first noticed. But soon Louis was swallowing William, his head sliding back and forth with regularity.

William still had Louis’s softening cock in his mouth, but as Louis’s pace and vigor increased, he had to let it fall. He panted and gripped Louis, and as he felt the surge coming and his body tingled, he sank his teeth into Louis’s thigh. As William spent, a low growl escaped through his mouth, swallowed up by Louis’s body. His lovely body that William was now marking as his own, planting his flag, as it were, at the top of Louis’s right thigh. He hoped the nails Louis currently had clawed into his flesh would leave a similar sign.

***

Louis woke feeling more refreshed than he had in years. He rolled over, saw the sun seeping through the corners of the window in his little cell, and smiled. He had a renewed taste for life and war, politics and intrigue, and he wanted to play them all that very minute. After all, if they did not battle, he and William would have no next time, and there must be a next time.

Louis bounded from the bed and washed quickly, but thoughtfully, at the basin. He then dressed himself, brushed his hair, and left the little room to greet the world. The world began with one of the sisters offering him food, and continued through generals, diplomats, and finally Louvois. William, it seemed, had not been seen yet. As much as Louis had assumed he would see William again before he left, he announced their immediate departure. He would have his memories of the night, if not the memory of William’s face in the dawn light, to keep him warm at Versailles.

But it turned out William was up—he just had not made himself known to anyone from Louis’s party. His appearance across the courtyard quickened Louis’s pulse and his pace, as they both left behind their retinues to meet alone in the center of the courtyard. William looked dazzling. His youth and smooth, creamy skin could withstand the ravages of battle, weather, and sleeplessness. Louis found his gaze drawn to William’s thin, perfect lips, and had to breathe deeply to forestall the shiver the memory of them around his prick threatened to elicit.

Louis realized he would miss William, an odd feeling to have toward a man he had known for less than a day, and ultimately, hoped to defeat in war. And yet, there it was, the feeling he would lose something the moment he turned his back and walked out of the convent. He would return to his solitude, but at least now when he did, he knew for certain another man felt the same, and would await as anxiously as Louis the time they might finally meet again. And in that meeting, they would rage not so much at each other as they would rage at the loneliness and crushing responsibility they typically felt, together.